New American Soloists

JACOB DRUCKMAN (1928 - 1996)

Cleveland Chamber Symphony

Edwin London, Music Director

New American Soloists

Jacob Druckman

The Sound of Time

Marlene Rosen, soprano

Augusta Read Thomas

Spirit Musings

Laura Russell, violin

John Musto

Encounters for Tenor and Orchestra

Paul Sperry, tenor

Jeffrey Jacob

The Persistenceof Memory

Jeffrey Jacob, piano

Jacob Druckman (1928 - 1996)

Jacob Druckman, who died in May of 1996, was born in Philadelphia in 1928 to parents who were both amateur musicians. He began formal musical study at age 10, eventually studying with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood in 1949-50. His other teachers included Bernard Wagenaar, Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin. He received a master's degree from the Juilliard School in 1956 and won a Fulbright Scholarship for a year of study in Paris. He returned to Juilliard as a teacher in 1957 and remained there for 15 years. He was also on the faculty at Bard College from 1961 to 1967. In 1965 he became associated with the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and began his notable series of pieces entitled Animus which combine live performers with taped sounds. He received a second Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968-69 and won the Pulitzer Prize in music in 1972 for Windows, his first work for large orchestra.

He was composer-in-residence at the Aspen Festival for many years and in 1976 began a long tenure on the music faculty at Yale. From 1982 to 1986 he was composer in residence with the New York Philharmonic and helped organize a notable series of contemporary concerts by that orchestra. In 1993, the year of his 65th birthday, the state of Connecticut honored him with the title of Charles Ives Memorial Composer Laureate. One of his last works completed before his death in 1996 was a piano concerto.

The catalog of Druckman's works is long and varied, encompassing three string quartets and many other chamber works, the three works entitled Animus, choral music, ballet music, music for performance by children and piano music, in addition to his large body of orchestral pieces. In addition to Windows (1972), his orchestral catalogue includes Mirage, Chiaroscuro, Aureole, Prism, Athanor, Brangle, Summer Lightning, Seraphic Games, Demos and other pieces. Many of his works are recorded on such labels as New World, Bridge, Newport Classics and Deutsche Grammophon.

The Sound of Time

This piece is a version for soprano and chamber orchestra of a piece for soprano and piano premiered in 1964. The chamber orchestra version was first heard in 1965 in performance by the Provincetown (Mass.) Symphony Orchestra conducted by Joseph Hawthorne with soprano Valerie Lamoree as soloist. The piece, which runs about 12 minutes, is a setting of texts drawn from Deaths for the Ladies (and other Disasters) by Norman Mailer. The composer wrote that the first poem, “Harbors of the Moon,” with its “seaside imagery of seductive death” is set off by “the thrusting wit in quick jabs of the next poem, `Antibiotics'.” The final poem “recapitulates the opening subject matter, both verbal and musical (serial)” and is “a more direct statement of the opening credendum.”

Druckman spent summer vacations in the 1960s at Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, where one of his neighbors was Norman Mailer. The texts for this piece are drawn from Mailer's only book of poetry - a book that Druckman described as “totally in the spirit of Provincetown in the 1960s.”

The text that follows is transcribed from the orchestral score:

Poems written by masochists flop like cows in the meadow -

Take pity on me, they cry, pay attention, pity on me -

I am so sensitive to nature and full of milk.

Poems should be like pins which prick the skin of boredom

And leave a glow equal in its pride to the gait of the Sadist

Who stuck the pin and walked away.

Royal is the rat who runs the race.

I know a town with sighs of sea, smiled the white witch.

I know a town which sails the sun.

I know a town where light is dry

And boats come home with silver in their hold.

Do not grieve the death of little fish,

They are lights which smell the deep.

I know a town with sighs of sea, white with the tides of -

White as the spine of the sea.

The memory of champagne I never drank and kings I never kissed.

Antibiotics, psychoanalysis, research projects,

Vitamins, awards, crash programs, crash diets,

Symposiums, foundations, rest, rehabilitation,

Tranquillizers, aspirin, surgery, lobotomies,

Rises in status, boxoffice boffo,

Perversions, tenderness to liberty and irony of fate,

Royal is the rat who runs the race.

Prose can pass into poetry when its heart is intense,

For one can then dispense with whence went the verse.

Rhythm and rhyme may mask the movements of time -

Remember the sound of time is flesh

Marlene Ralis Rosen

Marlene Ralis Rosen, soprano soloist, holds degrees from Temple University and the University of Illinois. Her teachers have included Richard Miller, Helen Hodam, Dalton Baldwin, Hugues Cuenod, Gerard Souzay and Paul Ulanovsky. She has been soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Philadelphia Brazilian Festival Orchestra, University of Evansville Oratorio Society, Canton Symphony and the New Music Associates of Cleveland State University. She has appeared numerous times with the Plum Creek Chamber Ensemble, the Fischer Duo and the Ensemble Pierrot, and has given recitals in Germany, Holland, Finland and China. She has appeared as collaborative musician with Pierre Boulez, George Crumb, John Harbison, Luciano Berio and John Cage and has recorded on a number of labels. She now teaches at the Oberlin College Conservatory.

Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1954)

Composer Augusta Read Thomas is associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music and is currently serving as composer in residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Born in New York City in 1964, she studied at Northwestern University, Yale University and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her music has been programmed by such conductors as Mstislav Rostropovich, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Gerard Schwarz, Dennis Russell Davies, Jahja Ling, Lawrence Leighton Smith and Edwin London. Her chamber opera Ligeia, commissioned by Rostropovich and the Rencontres Musicales d'Evian, won the International Orpheus Prize and has been performed in Europe and the United States.

Other works of the recent past include Words of the Sea (Chicago Symphony, 1996), Chanson for cello and orchestra (Boston Symphony, 1997), Brass Axis for saxophone quartet and orchestra (Carnegie Hall, 1998), a Flute Concerto (Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, 1998), and Concertino for Orchestra (Rochester Philharmonic, 1998). A new orchestral work of hers will be premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic under Daniel Barenboim in 2000. A number of her works have been recorded. She has taught widely and frequently undertakes short-term residencies at colleges and universities around the country. Her teachers have included Jacob Druckman, Alan Stout and William Karlins.

Spirit Musings for Violin and Chamber Orchestra

This piece, a relatively brief three-movement work for solo violin and orchestra, was written in 1997. It is actually a “version” of the composer's previous Van Straaten Concerto No. 1 for flute and chamber orchestra. Spirit Musings receives its Cleveland premiere at this concert. Its duration is about 13 minutes. It is scored for flute, oboe, two clarinets, bassoon, horn, trumpet, harp, percussion, strings and the solo violin.

The work's three movements are marked (1) Spirited, clear and energetic; (2) Resonant and elegant; (3) Majestic and lyric. The composer has supplied the following note:

“Music of all kinds constantly amazes, surprises, propels and seduces me into a wonderful and powerful journey. I am happiest when I am listening to music and in the process of composing music. I care deeply that music is not anonymous and generic or easily assimilated and just as easily dismissed. I would say that Spirit Musings has urgent, seductive and compelling qualities of sometimes complex but always logical thought, allied to sensuous and engaging sonic profiles.”

Laura Russell

Laura Russell has been Concertmaster of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony for four seasons and is a frequent soloist with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and other orchestras. She is a faculty member of the ENCORE School for Strings and has taught in the Preparatory Department of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Ms. Russell has served as Concertmaster for the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Trinity Cathedral Chamber Orchestra. She was featured in an hour long live radio recital broadcast on WQRS-FM's Quest for Excellence series and is a founding member of the Pensacola Chamber Music Festival in Florida.

Ms. Russell earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and attended the Meadowmount School of Music for ten summers as a student of Linda and David Cerone. She had additional studies with Jascha Brodsky, Josef Gingold, Bernard Goldschmidt and Linda Snedden Smith of the Detroit Symphony.

John Musto (b. 1954)

Composer John Musto was born in Brooklyn and received his earliest musical training from his father, a jazz guitarist. Self taught as a composer, he studied piano with Seymour Lipkin and Paul Jacobs. His music has been performed in concert halls and at music festivals in the United States and Europe. His dual capacity as composer and pianist brings a unique perspective to his performances. He has also developed a strong interest in setting poetry to music, resulting in a body of work that has entered the American song repertory.

His score for the documentary film Into the Light (1995) was awarded an Emmy by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in music for the orchestral version of his recent song-cycle Dove Sta Amore. Another recent premiere was the song-cycle Starsong, commissioned by the Bridge Ensemble/Spoleto Festival Choir.

As a pianist, John Musto is in wide demand and as an accompanist he has appeared with such singers as baritone William Sharp and mezzos Joyce Castle and Mary Ann Hart. He performed with tenor Paul Sperry in an all-American program at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, with baritone Chris Pedro Trakas at the Spoleto Festival and with soprano Dominique Labelle at the Alliance Francaise in New York. He was New Music Coordinator for the New York Festival of Song from 1992 to 1994 and has taught at Brooklyn College, the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School. His compositions have been recorded on the Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi, MusicMasters, Innova, Channel Classics, Albany and New World labels, and he can be heard as a pianist on Harmonia Mundi and Nonesuch.


This work was jointly commissioned by Paul Sperry and Cleveland Chamber Symphony, who gave the world premiere on September 21 and 22, 1992.

The first section is a setting of Piano, a nostalgic poem by D. H. Lawrence depicting a young child's introduction to music (which clearly becomes a lifelong passion) imbued as it is with bittersweet memories of home, hearth and “the glamour of childish days.” In the mind's ear the power of song works its magic delicately, recalling a sentimental waltz played at first sweetly, then haltingly, then with an aching passionate sadness. Finally the tune fades away altogether, leaving the spare reality of adulthood and innocence lost.

The second section, Witness, a setting of e. e. cummings' no time ago, recounts a startling encounter. Musto entitled it after the evangelical practice of “witnessing” or publicly testifying to a very personal religious experience.

Encounter presents the telephone call as a modern love song. In this setting of cummings' poem your little voice, all the sounds familiar to modern telephone communications are employed - dial tones, busy signals, jangling telephones, and, most importantly, the telephone number itself, a seven-digit touch-tone melody. Over and over again it is “dialed” and the tune transported into dizzying flights of fancy.

In Passacaglia, John Musto found e. e. cummings' mystical poem these children in stone eerily evocative of the statuary in Paris' famous Pere Lachaise cemetery. cummings' images are the unchanging time-stopped statues of singing children. Like a puzzle that can be put together many different ways, this poem juxtaposes words in a continually evolving context. The result is the virtual animation of the stone, a kind of perpetual motion within unending stillness. By casting the song in the form of a passacaglia, endless variations may be spun out of a sparse and haunting musical theme. Like cummings' images (children, stone, silence, forever) these simple threads are woven into a seamless cloth.

The memory of the unrest in South Central Los Angeles was still fresh when Danny, J. M. Synge's ballad of mob violence, captured the composer's attention. The televised images of these events seemed to mirror the violence of Synge's poem. In this tale of retribution in the small town of Erris, Danny is ambushed by a group of vigilantes who beat and choke him to death. The tale begins with the piccolo piping a whimsical jig. Only the intermittent drum beats warn of the bloody violence to come. When the deed is done, a lone fiddle strikes up a triumphant reel, inciting the rest of the instruments to revel in the melee. The song ends elegiacally with a plaintive allusion to Danny Boy.

While Piano began the cycle with a backward glance, Epilogue, a setting of cummings' love is a place, brings it to a hopeful close looking to the future. Written to celebrate the birth of a dear friend's daughter, this song is a celebration of love and limitless possibility when a new life encounters the world. (notes by Amy Burton).

Texts for the cycle are:

I. Piano (D. H. Lawrence)

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;

Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see

A child sitting under the piano in the boom of the tingling strings

And pressing the small poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song

Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong

To the old Sunday evenings at home, with the winter outside

And hymns in the cozy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour

With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour

Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast

Down in a flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

II. Witness (e. e. cummings)

no time ago

or else a life

walking in the dark

I met christ

Jesus) my heart

flopped over

and lay still

while he passed (as

close as I'm to you

yes closer

made of nothing

except loneliness

III. Encounter (e. e. cummings)

your little voices

Over the wires came leaping

And I felt suddenly


With the jostling and shouting of merry flowers

wee skipping high-heeled flames

courtsied before my eyes

or twinkling over to my side

Looked up

with impertinently exquisite faces

floating hands were laid upon me

I was whirled and tossed into delicious dancing



With the pale important

stars and the humorous moon

dear girl

How I was crazy how I cried when I heard

over time

and tide and death



your voice

IV. Passacaglia (e. e. cummings)

these children singing in stone a

silence of stone these

little children wound with stone

flowers opening for

ever these silently lit

the children are petals

their song is a flower of

always their flowers

of stone are

silently singing

a song more silent

than silence these always

children forever

singing wreathed with singing

blossoms children of

stone with blossoming


know if a


tree listens

forever to always children singing forever

a song made

of silent as stone silence of


V. Ballad (J. M. Synge)

One night a score of Erris men,

A score I'm told and nine,

Said “We'll get shut of Danny's noise

Of girls and widows dying.”

“There's not his like from Binghamstown

To Boyle and ballycroy,

At playing hell on decent girls,

At Beating man and boy

`He's left two pairs of female twins

Beyond in Killacreest,

And twice in Crossmolina fair

He's struck the parish priest.

`But we'll come round him in the night

A mile beyond the mullet;

Ten will quench his bloody eyes,

And ten will choke his gullet.'

It wasn't long till Danny came

From Bangor making way,

And he was damning moon and stars

And whistling grand and gay.

Till in a gap of hazel glen -

And not a hare in sight -

Out lepped the nine-and-twenty lads

Along his left and right

Then Danny smashed the nose on Byrne

He split the lips on three,

And bit across the right-hand thumb

On one Red Shawn Magee.

But seven tripped him up behind,

And seven kicked before,

and seven squeezed around his throat

Till Danny kicked no more.

Then some destroyed him with their heels,

Some tramped him in the mud,

Some stole his purse and timber pipe,

And some washed off his blood.


And when you're walking out the way

From Bangor to Belmullet,

You'll see a flat cross on a stone,

Where men choked Danny's gullet.

VI. Epilogue (e. e. cummings)

love is a place

& through this place of

love move

(with brightness of peace)

all places

yes is a world

& in this world of

yes live

(skillfully curled)

all worlds

Paul Sperry

Tenor Paul Sperry is known as one of today's outstanding interpreters of American music. Many of today's leading composers have written works especially for him, including Leonard Bernstein (Dybbuk Suite, premiered by the New York Philharmonic with the composer conducting), Jacob Druckman (Animus IV, 1977), Bernard Rands (Canti del Sole, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music) and Edwin London (Peter Quince at the Clavier, premiered by Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1987). He has also premiered works by William Bolcom, Richard Hundley, Stephen Paulus, Louise Talma and Charles Wuorinen, among others.

Jeffrey Jacob

Composer Jeffrey Jacob, who plays the solo piano part in these performances of The Persistence of Memory, holds a masters degree from the Juilliard School and a doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore with additional study at the Salzburg Mozarteum. His music has been performed extensively in North America, Europe and the Far East by such ensembles as the Indianapolis Symphony, Saint Petersburg (Russia) State Symphony, Moscow Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the Rhine and the Orquestra de Baja California. A CD containing three of his major works will be released in January by Centaur Records.

As a pianist and proponent of contemporary American music, he has premiered works written for him by George Crumb, Vincent Persichetti, Gunther Schuller, Samuel Adler and William Thomas McKinley and has appeared as piano soloist with the London Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Polish Radio Orchestra, Moscow Symphony, Saint Petersburg State Symphony and the Brazil National Symphony. He has also given solo piano recitals worldwide and has made a number of notable recordings, including the complete piano works of Barber and Crumb for Centaur and a series of CDs of contemporary American Music for New Ariel. He is currently professor of music and artist-in-residence at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana.

The Persistence of Memory

The composer states that this piece (here receiving its world premiere performances) “explores the impact of the past upon the present through the juxtaposition and combination of older and contemporary musical styles.” The title is also the title of a famous Salvador Dali painting featuring that noted surrealist artist's famous “limp watches.”

The first movement, says Jacob, unfolds slowly with a musical landscape described as “haunted, pagan, restless.” As this section fades from view, contrasting material emerges - a melodic line for piano and solo cello in a style “reminiscent of Brahms or Mendelssohn” that is marked “nostalgic, with dignity.” The two sections alternate - the present with its uncertainty, the past with its intense and inescapable sadness, until the two styles and themes gradually merge at the end of the movement.

The second movement has three discrete sections, each subtly evocative of a past musical style. The first suggests the percussive drive of Bartok; the second transforms an accompaniment pattern from a Schubert song into a “misterioso” piano sonority; the third combines elements of Impressionism with a soaring melodic line. The structure, says the composer, “evokes one final aspect of the past: The movement is in sonata form without a development, and the principal means of expression throughout the work is melody.”

Edwin London

Edwin London, music director of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, has served living music throughout his distinguished career. He has formed two highly acclaimed ensembles:Ineluctable Modality, a new music choral ensemble, in 1968, and the award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1980. He has earned the Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center, the ASCAP-John S. Edwards Award and the Laurel Leaf Award from the American Composers Alliance.

Born in Philadelphia in 1929, London began his career as a horn player in both symphony orchestras and the Oscar Pettiford Jazz Band. After graduation from the Oberlin Conservatory, he received a doctorate from the University of Iowa. Subsequent teachers have included Luigi Dallapiccola, Darius Milhaud and Gunther Schuller. He taught at Smith College, the University of Illinois and the University of California at San Diego before becoming a professor at Cleveland State University in 1978.

Cleveland Chamber Symphony

The Cleveland Chamber Symphony is the professional ensemble-in-residence at Cleveland State University whose mission is to present new American music. Since its founding in 1980 by Edwin London, the orchestra has performed the world premieres of 146 works, 85 of which were commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony has received repeated national recognition for its strong commitment to new American music including the coveted John S. Edwards award three times. It has also received the American Music Center Letter of Distinction and nine ASCAP awards for adventuresome programming of Contemporary Music.

Covert Art:“Quartet” Drawing by Gene Epstein

Recorded by Bruce Gigax, Drinko Hall, Cleveland, Ohio

This recording was supported in part by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording.

Cleveland Chamber Symphony

Edwin London, Music Director

New American Soloists

Jacob Druckman

1. The Sound of Time (12:08)

Marlene Rosen, soprano

Augusta Read Thomas

Spirit Musings (10:29)

2. Movement 1 (3:01

3. Movement 2 (2:50)

4. Movement 3 (4:30)

Laura Russell, violin

Recorded by Bruce Gigax

Drinko Hall, Cleveland, Ohio

John Musto

Encounters for Tenor and Orchestra (21:31)

5. Piano (6:07)

6. Witness (0:40)

7. Encounter (2:16)

8. Passacaglia (3:37)

9. Ballad (6:29)

10. Epilogue (2:07)

Paul Sperry, tenor

Jeffrey Jacob

The Persistenceof Memory (15:57)

11. Movement I (8:39)

12. Movement II (7:15)

Jeffrey Jacob, piano

Total Time = 60:23